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If this were a 6-car list, the Chrysler Imperial Coupe shown here would have made the list. The Imperial Sedan, however, just made the top 5.

I’ll just admit it. I chose 1974 because I wanted to get a car other than a Cadillac or Lincoln on the list. If you check out our The 5 Most Expensive Cars of 1972 post, you’ll a lineup of comprised entirely by cars of those makes.

1972 Pony Cars

Way back in 1972, Consumer Guide ranked the Barracuda, Camaro, Challenger, Cougar, Firebird, Javelin, and Mustang. Which car came out on top? Read on…


Consumer Guide divided the ’72 new-car market into mini compact, compact, sporty compact, intermediate, standard, medium standard, personal luxury, and luxury categories.

The power went out in 1972. Manufacturers did their best to hide the muscle shortage behind the horsepower reporting conversion from SAE Gross to SAE Net, but we all knew the sad truth.

Responding to the pending arrival of low-lead gasoline, makers were forced to dial back the power, which was just as well, as auto insurers were getting nervous anyway.

How deep were the power cuts? Let’s look at the Chevrolet Corvette as an example. In 1971, the ‘Vette’s big block 454-cubic-inch V8 cranked out a reported 365 horsepower in its mildest state of tune. For 1972, the only 454 offered was good for just 270 ponies. Again, some of that decline was attributable to the new reporting standards, but sadly, most of it was just missing muscle.

Calvin & Hobbes

Given how hard he’s working to help motorists profess their hatred for certain brands, it’s hard to imagine Calvin isn’t suffering from a kidney disorder by now.

A bumper sticker isn’t a tattoo. I get that. Unlike tattoos, bumper stickers and sundry window appliqués aren’t generally very expensive, and can usually be removed without too much difficulty. But, just as people often draw conclusions about folks with tattoos based on their tattoos, other drivers will judge you based on the stuff you’ve plastered on your bumper.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S (red)

Consumer Guide’s test Jaguar F-Type arrived in V8 S trim and loaded with options. With the destination charge our test car came to $103,820.

Consumer Guide Automotive Test Drive

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S 

Dates tested: 8/14/2014-8/21/2014

Miles Driven: 259

Fuel Used: 16.3 gallons

1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL.

The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL was the 1975 Consumer Guide luxury-category Best Buy.

According to Consumer Guide© Auto ’75, Best Buy selections are, “chosen on the basis of market research into what buyers in each category are seeking in their cars; and on a straight-forward, dollars-and-cents evaluation of what buyers are getting in quality, durability, economy, and function.”


1989 Jeep Comanche

For those keeping score, 2014 represents a low point for compact pickups in the U.S. With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon on hiatus, only Honda, Nissan, and Toyota currently offer vehicles in this class.

1996 Acura SLX

Anxious to exploit the exploding consumer interest in SUVs, Acura tapped Isuzu for a version of that maker’s Trooper. The SLX became Acura’s first truck.

Fact: Japanese automobile manufacturers were just as willing as American makers to build fuel-thirsty trucks, they just weren’t as good at selling them. Had early versions of the Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner sold nearly as well as the Ford Explorer, history might recall said companies less as the “green” good guys they came to be considered.


At $26,500 including destination charge, the Peugeot 505 Turbo SW8 was the 4th most-expensive wagon available to American shoppers in 1990.

It is Consumer Guide managing editor Rick Cotta who first began noting vehicles that are turning 25 years of age, and thus becoming “classic.”

In Illinois, home to Consumer Guide Automotive© and Collectible Automobile magazine, a car is officially an antique when it crosses the quarter-century line.

UAZ 469

Sadly, the UAZ 469 “Hunter” is not among Russia’s five best-selling vehicles. In truth, this cold-war-era relic didn’t make the top 20. We’re using the classically tough-looking Hunter as our feature image because Russians vehicles just look so darn normal these days.

Serbians knew it as the Zastava Koral, we, for a brief moment in time, knew it as the Yugo GV. To no one’s surprise, a peoples’ car designed around then 20-year old Fiat technology built behind the Iron Curtain didn’t sell especially well in the United States. Mostly we pointed and laughed. For you youngsters out there, the Yugo was a really bad car import from what was then known as Yugoslavia for the 1984-1991 model years. They didn’t sell well.

1985 Pontiac Fiero, Hall and Oates.

Sometime between the height of their popularity and acquiescing to record a Christmas album, Hall and Oates take time to scuff the finish of a 1985 Pontiac Fiero.

It has taken a while, but demographers seemed to have coalesced around 1985 as the year dividing the people identified as Generation Y from those we’ve labeled Millennials.


Classic Cars

Collectible Automobile Magazine